What to expect at closing
At closing, you may be bringing your down payment money by certified check (unless you have wired it or have a no money down loan). You will also need to bring a photo ID to prove who you are such as a driver's license or a photo passport.
There is a customary "sitting" orientation at the closing table that features the buyer(s) on one side of the table with their agent, and the seller(s) on the other side of the table with their agent. The closer will sit at the head of the table, which gives them access to both the buyer(s) and seller(s) for all the document signing.
The closing begins with buyer and seller providing their photo IDs which are copied for verification. Then the closer begins to go through all the paperwork which can typically take anywhere from 20 min to an hour, depending on any questions, speed of the closer and speed of the parties signing. The buyer will have much more paperwork to sign than the seller due to mere fact that most of the paperwork is the loan documents. If the buyer is bringing a certified check to the closing, the closer will ask for it at this point.
After signing, the seller gives the buyer the keys to their new home and any other items of interest, such as garage door openers and keys to a shed, if the buyer is taking possession of the property right away. If the buyer is not taking possession right away and their contract called for the seller to be able to remain in the property for a few extra days, then the seller and buyer would discuss when and how the keys would be exchanged.
There is also usually a discussion about several quick items at this point.... making sure utilities were transferred into the buyer's name already, what codes might be to get into the home with pad entries, specifics about where the seller left any appliance warranties, touch up paint, etc. It is common for the buyer to ask any questions regarding the property that would be of interest. A lot of times phone numbers are exchanged if the parties are agreeable to this.
When the signing is completed, the deal is done and the buyer is now the official owner of the property. The buyer will receive a packet of all the loan documents they just signed, along with the final settlement statement. The seller will receive the final settlement statement along with a check for any proceeds that are due. The listing and buyer's agents will also receive a copy of the final settlement statement and the commission checks made out to their respective brokerages.
The deed that was signed at the closing table is now mailed to the courthouse by the title company where it is legally recorded and becomes public knowledge. At this point, the original deed is then mailed back to the title company and then the title company mails it to the buyer, a process that can take up to 8 weeks after closing. It is important to restate here that this is the ORIGINAL deed the buyer will be receiving. But buyer beware... there are people who are watching the recording of new deeds at the courthouse, obtain the names and addresses of those new sales, and then mail the new buyer a letter that states for a copy of their deed, the buyer can send in $75 and they will get a copy of the deed for them. This letter comes right after the recording of the deed and prior to the original deed being mailed back to the buyer. Just know that is is just another scam to make money. Just throw away all these letters, as you will be receiving the original deed in month or two. And don't worry if for some reason you eventually loose the original deed. The courthouse will always have a copy which can be used if and when you sell the home.